The Malawi Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) has recently engaged SMEC to craft the Lunyangwa Dam Safety Management Plan.

Serving as the primary water source for Mzuzu City, the dam, constructed in 1992, supports over 250,000 people, with the catchment population projected to surge to 500,000 by 2030.


In response to escalating water demand, NRWB plans to augment water storage by increasing the embankment and elevating the spillway height by 1.5m, expanding the reservoir from 4.36 Mm³ to 5.54 Mm³. This initiative, backed by the European Investment Bank, is a vital component of the NRWB Water Efficiency Project, addressing water resource management. The dam enhancement acts as an interim measure to ensure a continuous water supply for Mzuzu City while securing long-term financing.


The project encompasses raising the concrete spillway, constructing a 2.0 m parapet wall on the existing dam crest, modifying the intake tower, and reinstating dam monitoring equipment. SMEC, deploying Dam Safety Experts, will formulate a comprehensive Dam Safety Management Plan aligned with Malawi’s Dams Safety Act, 2015, and ICOLD guidelines. The plan includes components like Instrumentation and Monitoring, Operations and Maintenance, Dam Break Study, and Emergency Preparedness.


Compliant with ICOLD requirements, SMEC will simulate various dam break scenarios to evaluate controlled and uncontrolled water release, ensuring protection of life, property, and the environment. Recognizing the importance of knowledge transfer, SMEC will develop a training program to enhance the skills of NRWB staff.


Scheduled for completion in Q2 2024, these safety management plans underscore SMEC’s commitment to ensuring the safety and sustainability of dam operations.